LAS VEGAS - NHP investigators are working hard to determine just how fast 47-year-old David Fensch was going when he crashed into the back of 16-year-old Jaelan Farjardo's car, but so far, authorities say the impact was powerful enough to send Jaelan's Honda Accord skidding hundreds of feet across the intersection.
NHP traffic homicide detectives said Fensch's vehicle slammed into the back of Jaelan's car which was waiting at a stop sign. The teen was on his way to school.
Both Fensch and Jaelan were hurt, but according to troopers, Fensch's injuries were minor, but Jelan died at the hospital.
For many, it's rare to see a rear-end collision resulting in the death of the driver. Passengers in the backseat are usually more vulnerable because they are closer to the impact, but in this case, the teenager was driving alone.
Jaelan car has severe rear-end damage, but the entire front of the car, even the windshield is intact, which means the sheer force from being hit from behind caused enough whiplash to prove fatal.
Law enforcement says victims of rear end collisions can suffer massive trauma from being thrown around the driver's compartment. Jaelan was driving a 1999 Honda Accord, so it may not have had rear impact airbags.
Nevada Highway Patrol said Jaelan, who'd only been driving for a short time, was wearing his seatbelt and was doing everything right.
"He was stopped at a red light doing everything right. He stopped waiting for the light to turn green and he just got rear ended.," said Jason Buratczuk, NHP trooper. "It's just a tragic situation. You know, we always think of the young drivers may be a little unsafe because with their friends in the car and texting and whatever, but this young man was doing everything he was supposed to do. Stopped at the light and got rear ended and unfortunately, he lost his life."
Crash scene investigators will remove the air bag sensor in the Fensch's Chevy Trailblazer to determine how fast he was going seconds before impact.
They're also waiting on the results of Fensch's blood test to determine whether he was impaired. Investigators at the scene suspected that he was.
Fensch faces a rare charge of vehicular homicide, which only occurs when someone has had multiple DUI's and are involved in a deadly crash. The charge can carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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